Band concert wraps up year

Awarding, recognizing senior achievement in music


Cece Jensen

Onstage, senior Carlitos Anguita-Smith receives a rose from Band Director Steve Shmitz May 3. After the band concert, Shmitz handed out roses to recognize the achievements of the graduating seniors.

After a nearly 15-hour day — including AP and IB tests and a 7 a.m. rehearsal — band director Steve Schmitz said the concert was a success despite some hiccups. 

“I feel that they were really strong. I’m very happy and proud of the students. There were a few moments that the students and I talked about with both the jazz band and the wind ensemble, with a few musical surprises — things that had not happened before. I thought a lot about it and I think that it was just an incredibly long day,” Schmitz said. 

For senior Ella Runyan, despite the success of the concert, the ending was bittersweet due to the finality of it. 

“I was sad because band was done, that was my last concert of the year.,” Runyan said. “ it was super fun too because I was with all my friends and we’re graduating together from the band — I didn’t realize it was happening until it happened. Which is crazy because four years went by in a flash.”

According to Schmitz, losing so many seniors this year with graduation will have a large impact on the program. During the concert, he celebrated the successes of these students by passing out roses to acknowledge their individual achievements. 

“This is a big class, I believe it’s tied with our record, which says several things; it says that it’ll hurt a lot in terms of numbers and skill leaving, but also on the positive side, it says that these people worked through, had faith and kept playing through a really difficult time and were very loyal,” Schmitz said.

After mastering her senior solo, Olivia Kelly echoes similar sentiments of sadness as the year comes to a close. 

“I was expecting to cry honestly. I’ve been in band for seven or eight years now and it’s been a big part of high school for me,” Kelly said. “This was my last concert, last time playing with these people and my last time playing with Mr. Schmitz, who was the one who got me into band in the first place.”  

With four songs, three of them being senior solos, Runyan said the concert was a good way to highlight seniors’ accomplishments. Along with the roses, Schmitz introduced each of the seniors with short, commemorative speeches.  

“I didn’t realize we were going through the senior things until halfway through and I went, ‘Oh shoot, all the seniors are getting the roses.’ I knew it was coming, but I didn’t realize when it was coming — but when it was, I was kind of panicking,” Runyan said. “Because if you have the same teacher for four years, you’re going be like, ‘Oh my God, what do they think of me?’ So getting to know that was kind of cool.”

During the concert, Schmitz highlighted in a speech to the audience the difference in this year  compared to the last. For him, emerging from time spent distanced to now being together, has united the band. 

“It is definitely better to be together. Music is meant to be social and it’s much easier to learn in a group and in person, as it’s much more fun,” Schmitz said. “Definitely all hands-on electives throughout the country and perhaps worldwide took a hit in skill numbers during COVID. Even though we still had masking and special band PPE this year, that was so much better than the previous year and a half.”